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Roast beef at Lucinda’s Deli Patricia Chang

19 of the Best Lunch Spots in San Francisco

Soup, salad, or smorrebrod?

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At this point in the pandemic, aren’t we all officially over making lunch? The good news is that San Francisco has always been filled with grab-and-go options for that midday meal, from the classic trifecta of soups, salads, and sandwiches, to noodles, dumplings, tacos, and even the odd piroshki. And while many of the salad and burger chains are grouped downtown, there are some true neighborhood gems serving the rest of the city.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Lucca Delicatessen

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2120 Chestnut St
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 921-7873
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Lucca is the old-school Italian-American deli of the Marina, family-owned since 1929. It’s a meaty sandwich destination, starring Italian combos with mortadella and salami, caprese with fresh mozz and prosciutto, and needless to say, meatballs.

2. Molinari Delicatessen

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373 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 421-2337
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Molinari is a deli institution in North Beach, strung with sausages and lined with olive oil. Lunch fans pick out a roll, and pile on the cured meats and pepperoncini.

3. Washington Bakery & Restaurant

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733 Washington St
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 397-3232
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Chinatown is filled with amazing takeout options, so to name just one, Washington Bakery is a Hong Kong–style bakery with a case full of buns in the front, and a thick menu with everything from noodles to curry.

4. Marufuku Ramen

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1581 Webster St #235
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 872-9786
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Marufuku joined the many outstanding lunch and snack options in Japantown in 2017. The Hakata-style ramen comes in a rich and creamy tonkatsu broth sunk with pork belly, or there’s a lighter chicken paitan. 

5. Turtle Tower Restaurant

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645 Larkin St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 409-3333
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Turtle Tower, the favorite Vietnamese restaurant of the Tenderloin, hits the spot for chicken pho. The northern-style broth is clear and bright, and brimming with tender rice noodles and chicken.

Pho ga from Turtle Tower Turtle Tower

6. Darwin Cafe

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212 Ritch St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 800-8668
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Located in a back alley in the industrial part of SoMa, Darwin Cafe serves one of the best kale salads in the city, a legendary combination of radicchio, baked prosciutto, kale, and aged balsamic, all drenched with Parmesan. Also try the monthly hot roast beef sandwich special, or fresh sandwiches stuffed with summer squash and cheese or turkey.

7. Deli Board

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1058 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 552-7687
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This popular SoMa sandwich shop is known for seriously stuffed subs, the kind that have won the hearts of long lines of tech dudes. Choose from a meaty menu of pastrami, corned beef, and brisket, or in the case of the Boca combo, all three.

Deli Board Stefanie Tuder

8. Cinderella Bakery & Cafe

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436 Balboa St
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 751-9690
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The favorite Russian bakery of the Richmond is a go-to for piroshki meat pies, borsch beet soup, and definitely a slice of honey cake for dessert.

Piroshki from Cinderella Cinderella Bakery

9. Souvla

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517 Hayes St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 400-5458
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Couples have literally fallen in love over the salads and wraps from Souvla, the Greek fast-casual mini chain. Is it the spit-roasted lamb? The harissa yogurt? The garlicky fries? Who can say, but don’t forget the Greek frozen yogurt with baklava crumbles for dessert.

10. RT Rotisserie

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101 Oak St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 829-7086
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Rich Table, the Michelin-starred restaurant in Hayes Valley, spun out with RT Rotisserie, a fast-casual chicken joint. As expected, the chicken salad has a star reputation, featuring lush greens and herbs, sweet dried cranberries, punchy pickled onions, and a crumble of cotija cheese.

Chicken salad at RT Rotisserie Patricia Chang

11. Lucinda's Deli & More

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535 Scott St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 720-1724
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A former Horsefeather chef recently opened this sandwich spot near Alamo Square, because he likes taking a mortadella sub to the park with his pitbull. The sandwiches are simple, but the chef touches come through with lots of different spreads and toppings, from flavored mayos and housemade barbecue sauce to pickled and crispy onions.

Roast beef at Lucinda’s Deli Patricia Chang

12. Kantine

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1906 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 735-7123
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Kantine originally started as a smoked-trout-toast destination at the farmers’ market, before settling in as a beautiful Scandinavian-inspired bakery and cafe on Market. The savory porridges and salads are lovely, but you still can’t go wrong with an open-faced smorrebrod on sprouted rye.

13. San Tung

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1031 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 242-0828
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San Tung is best known for its golden chicken wings and saucy noodles, but the popular Chinese restaurant also has a solid list of lunch specials, most 12 dollars or less. Choose from hot braised tofu, dry-fried chicken, Mongolian beef, or three dozen other items, all of which come with soup of the day and steamed rice.

14. Palm City

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4055 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122

Palm City calls itself the “premier westernmost hoagie destination in the country;” an Outer Sunset cafe and wine shop where Dennis Cantwell and Monica Wong serve the Philly-style sandwich with mortadella, finocchiona, mozzarella, parmesan, arugula, and nduja mayo; traditional garlic roasted pork with broccoli raab, toma, and cherry pepper aioli; and a well-stuffed BLT. It’s now open for seating at tables inside and out, first come, first served.

15. Kin Khao Dogpatch

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690 Indiana St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 767-5700
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The Michelin-starred Thai restaurant is still temporarily closed downtown, but it’s more casual location in Dogpatch, featuring curries, noodles, and a coconut fried chicken sandwich, is great for lunch.

Dishes at Kin Khao Dogpatch Kin Khao

16. NOVY Restaurant

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4000 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 829-8383
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Noe Valley’s family-run Greek restaurant dates back decades, with the granddaughters running the latest iteration. It’s fresh and affordable, featuring chicken wraps, cucumber-and-tomato salads, and lemony soup.

Lamb wrap at Novy Novy

17. La Taqueria

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2889 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 285-7117
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The Mission is rich in excellent tacos and burritos, and La Taq is an institution. Of course, the best super burrito is a hotly contested matter of personal opinion, but this one skips the rice, so it’s slightly less nap-inducing. Ask for dorado, so it’s griddled until golden.

18. Auntie April's Chicken, Waffles, & Soul Food Restaurant

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4618 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94124
(415) 643-4983
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April Spears is back to serving the Bayview her soul-satisfying fried chicken and waffles, as well as braised oxtails, red beans and rice, and shrimp po’boys.

19. Dinosaurs

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2522 Ocean Ave
San Francisco, CA 94132
(415) 334-1421
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The Ocean Avenue location of mini-chain Dinosaurs makes for a great grab-and-go lunch option, with Vietnamese iced coffee, avocado milkshakes, spring rolls, and a good-sized banh mi stuffed with shaking beef, lemongrass pork, or spicy tuna for just $8.

Dinosaurs

1. Lucca Delicatessen

2120 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123

Lucca is the old-school Italian-American deli of the Marina, family-owned since 1929. It’s a meaty sandwich destination, starring Italian combos with mortadella and salami, caprese with fresh mozz and prosciutto, and needless to say, meatballs.

2120 Chestnut St
San Francisco, CA 94123

2. Molinari Delicatessen

373 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

Molinari is a deli institution in North Beach, strung with sausages and lined with olive oil. Lunch fans pick out a roll, and pile on the cured meats and pepperoncini.

373 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

3. Washington Bakery & Restaurant

733 Washington St, San Francisco, CA 94108

Chinatown is filled with amazing takeout options, so to name just one, Washington Bakery is a Hong Kong–style bakery with a case full of buns in the front, and a thick menu with everything from noodles to curry.

733 Washington St
San Francisco, CA 94108

4. Marufuku Ramen

1581 Webster St #235, San Francisco, CA 94115

Marufuku joined the many outstanding lunch and snack options in Japantown in 2017. The Hakata-style ramen comes in a rich and creamy tonkatsu broth sunk with pork belly, or there’s a lighter chicken paitan. 

1581 Webster St #235
San Francisco, CA 94115

5. Turtle Tower Restaurant

645 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Pho ga from Turtle Tower Turtle Tower

Turtle Tower, the favorite Vietnamese restaurant of the Tenderloin, hits the spot for chicken pho. The northern-style broth is clear and bright, and brimming with tender rice noodles and chicken.

645 Larkin St
San Francisco, CA 94109

6. Darwin Cafe

212 Ritch St, San Francisco, CA 94107

Located in a back alley in the industrial part of SoMa, Darwin Cafe serves one of the best kale salads in the city, a legendary combination of radicchio, baked prosciutto, kale, and aged balsamic, all drenched with Parmesan. Also try the monthly hot roast beef sandwich special, or fresh sandwiches stuffed with summer squash and cheese or turkey.

212 Ritch St
San Francisco, CA 94107

7. Deli Board

1058 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Deli Board Stefanie Tuder

This popular SoMa sandwich shop is known for seriously stuffed subs, the kind that have won the hearts of long lines of tech dudes. Choose from a meaty menu of pastrami, corned beef, and brisket, or in the case of the Boca combo, all three.

1058 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94103

8. Cinderella Bakery & Cafe

436 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94118
Piroshki from Cinderella Cinderella Bakery

The favorite Russian bakery of the Richmond is a go-to for piroshki meat pies, borsch beet soup, and definitely a slice of honey cake for dessert.

436 Balboa St
San Francisco, CA 94118

9. Souvla

517 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Couples have literally fallen in love over the salads and wraps from Souvla, the Greek fast-casual mini chain. Is it the spit-roasted lamb? The harissa yogurt? The garlicky fries? Who can say, but don’t forget the Greek frozen yogurt with baklava crumbles for dessert.

517 Hayes St
San Francisco, CA 94102

10. RT Rotisserie

101 Oak St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Chicken salad at RT Rotisserie Patricia Chang

Rich Table, the Michelin-starred restaurant in Hayes Valley, spun out with RT Rotisserie, a fast-casual chicken joint. As expected, the chicken salad has a star reputation, featuring lush greens and herbs, sweet dried cranberries, punchy pickled onions, and a crumble of cotija cheese.

101 Oak St
San Francisco, CA 94102

11. Lucinda's Deli & More

535 Scott St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Roast beef at Lucinda’s Deli Patricia Chang

A former Horsefeather chef recently opened this sandwich spot near Alamo Square, because he likes taking a mortadella sub to the park with his pitbull. The sandwiches are simple, but the chef touches come through with lots of different spreads and toppings, from flavored mayos and housemade barbecue sauce to pickled and crispy onions.

535 Scott St
San Francisco, CA 94117

12. Kantine

1906 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Kantine originally started as a smoked-trout-toast destination at the farmers’ market, before settling in as a beautiful Scandinavian-inspired bakery and cafe on Market. The savory porridges and salads are lovely, but you still can’t go wrong with an open-faced smorrebrod on sprouted rye.

1906 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94102

13. San Tung

1031 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

San Tung is best known for its golden chicken wings and saucy noodles, but the popular Chinese restaurant also has a solid list of lunch specials, most 12 dollars or less. Choose from hot braised tofu, dry-fried chicken, Mongolian beef, or three dozen other items, all of which come with soup of the day and steamed rice.

1031 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122

14. Palm City

4055 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

Palm City calls itself the “premier westernmost hoagie destination in the country;” an Outer Sunset cafe and wine shop where Dennis Cantwell and Monica Wong serve the Philly-style sandwich with mortadella, finocchiona, mozzarella, parmesan, arugula, and nduja mayo; traditional garlic roasted pork with broccoli raab, toma, and cherry pepper aioli; and a well-stuffed BLT. It’s now open for seating at tables inside and out, first come, first served.

4055 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122

15. Kin Khao Dogpatch

690 Indiana St, San Francisco, CA 94107
Dishes at Kin Khao Dogpatch Kin Khao

The Michelin-starred Thai restaurant is still temporarily closed downtown, but it’s more casual location in Dogpatch, featuring curries, noodles, and a coconut fried chicken sandwich, is great for lunch.

690 Indiana St
San Francisco, CA 94107

Related Maps

16. NOVY Restaurant

4000 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Lamb wrap at Novy Novy

Noe Valley’s family-run Greek restaurant dates back decades, with the granddaughters running the latest iteration. It’s fresh and affordable, featuring chicken wraps, cucumber-and-tomato salads, and lemony soup.

4000 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94114

17. La Taqueria

2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

The Mission is rich in excellent tacos and burritos, and La Taq is an institution. Of course, the best super burrito is a hotly contested matter of personal opinion, but this one skips the rice, so it’s slightly less nap-inducing. Ask for dorado, so it’s griddled until golden.

2889 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

18. Auntie April's Chicken, Waffles, & Soul Food Restaurant

4618 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94124

April Spears is back to serving the Bayview her soul-satisfying fried chicken and waffles, as well as braised oxtails, red beans and rice, and shrimp po’boys.

4618 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94124

19. Dinosaurs

2522 Ocean Ave, San Francisco, CA 94132
Dinosaurs

The Ocean Avenue location of mini-chain Dinosaurs makes for a great grab-and-go lunch option, with Vietnamese iced coffee, avocado milkshakes, spring rolls, and a good-sized banh mi stuffed with shaking beef, lemongrass pork, or spicy tuna for just $8.

2522 Ocean Ave
San Francisco, CA 94132

Related Maps